On a tree-lined sea front in Beirut, 31 wedding dresses recently hung from nooses, swaying eerily in the wind. The display was a haunting protest against a Lebanese law known as Article 522, which allows a rapist to walk free if he marries the survivor.
As the BBC reports, the installation was created by Lebanese artist Mireille Honein. “I hung them up, because this type of law simply robs women of their essence, leaves them without an identity and suspends them in a life that does not suit them and is shameful for those imposing it on them,” Honein told Agence France-Presse, according to Arab News.
Along with other Lebanese activists, Honein is advocating in favor of a proposal approved by a parliamentary committee in February that seeks to abolish Article 522. The proposal is slated to go to vote on May 15.
In recent years, countries across the Middle East and Africa have made efforts to remove legal loopholes like the one sanctified by Article 522. Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, and — most recently — Jordan have repealed laws that exonerate perpetrators of sexual violence who marry their victims. A similar law fizzled and died in Turkey after it was met with mass protests.
Read more at the BBC.